IN SHORT: Linet Chepkorir is a newsmaker in Kenya, as she is the youngest county woman representative yet. But a Facebook page in her name is only impersonating her.
Kenya’s former cabinet secretary for education, Prof George Magoha, died suddenly on 24 January 2023, following a cardiac arrest.
He was one of the country’s most recognised academics and administrators.
After his death a Facebook post, apparently published by lawmaker Linet Chepkorir, insinuates an unseen official hand in Magoha’s death.
The widely circulated message is couched as a message of condolence. The 26 January post reads: “Rest easy Magoha. Serikali iko na Siri Kali.”
In full, this message translates as: “Rest easy Magoha. The government has serious secrets.”
Chepkorir is the woman representative for Bomet county, one of 47 such units in Kenya. At 24, she is also the youngest elected politician in parliament.
The post appears on the Facebook page Linet chepkorir toto. Toto is a popular Kenyan nickname for “baby”, often used to identify the lawmaker.
But recent posts on the page are uncharacteristic of a lawmaker, however young. One, for example, suggests that marriage has few advantages for men, and that men should marry older women.
Another recent post claims that women “pressurize” their husbands to die early so that they can enjoy the man’s wealth.
Is Chepkorir really behind this Facebook page?
Signs page is fake
According to the page’s transparency section it was created on 7 September 2022, but under the name “David chirchir”.
On 10 November, the name changed again to “Hon Davis chirchir”. Davis Chirchir is a former cabinet secretary for energy.
And on 29 November the page name changed to the current “Linet chepkorir toto”. These frequent name changes are a clear sign that the page is not managed by Linet Chepkorir.
Another sign that the page may not be genuine is the multiple grammatical errors in its posts, uncharacteristic of the social media account of a public figure.
Toto’s official Facebook page
On 27 January 2023, Chepkorir shared a screenshot of the condolence message on her official Facebook page – under the name “Chepkorir Linet Toto” – and stamped it “FAKE PAGE. KINDLY IGNORE”.
She wrote: “TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. This is to inform you that the Facebook page below operating under my name is fake and does not communicate on my behalf. Anything posted under the page should be ignored.” She then linked to her real Facebook page.
The posts published here show Chepkorir’s daily engagements and she also posts official announcements for scholarships for needy students in Bomet.
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